I will continue to say that Jaeger-LeCoultre makes some of the best sport watches around and Jaeger-LeCoultre will continue to communicate very little about them. For the last several years with remarkable consistency, Jaeger-LeCoultre has released one or two new sport watches that offer a great style, interesting and useful complicated movements, masculine designs, and fair prices. This year that aggregate of qualities finds itself in the limited edition Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph Ceramic timepiece.
It looks like a watch Jaeger-LeCoultre has produced before because it uses an existing movement and similar name as other models. What you are seeing is mostly a refinement in terms of dial design and overall presentation as part of the larger and already very popular Master Compressor collection of sport pieces. What holds the collection together aside from large sizes and military-inspired looks is the “Compressor” crown. It operates differently from screw-down crowns in that you simply twist it from one side to another. White indicators means that it is locked while red indicators means that it is open for winding or being pulled out.
When watch collectors think of this Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2, the very first thing that springs to mind is the fun chronograph system. L-shaped chronograph pushers are designed for an excellent tactile encounter and topped with bit of rubber for a precise “grip.” Jaeger-LeCoultre wished to develop a chronograph that was really legible at a glance, so the second counter is really digital (it looks like a big date index) and is placed under 12 o’clock. This combined with the central seconds hand allows you to easily and just read the chronograph seconds and minutes (down to 1/8 of a second). The chronograph also includes a full 24-hour counter, which is quite welcome for those who want to time things more than 12 hours. Jaeger-LeCoultre designed the chronograph hours counter at a pleasantly legible manner also, and the inner area of the chronograph hours index subdial is a disc that operates as the running moments of the time.Internally, the chronograph utilizes not only a column-wheel, but also a vertical clutch transmission system. Collectively, these elements result in a chronograph which should last through a lot of starts, stops, and resets, but one that also starts very precisely once you activate the pusher. For me, this is among the coolest chronograph systems round, next to the somewhat similar (as well as more expensive and restricted) Porsche Design P’6910 Indicator watch from many decades back. The simplest to miss complication on the dial is the linear power reserve indicator that begins at 9 o’clock and goes to 3 o’clock on the periphery of the dial counting out “00” to “60” for the entire length of this Calibre 780’s 60 hour power reserve.
Jaeger-LeCoultre follows one of the most traditional tricks in the book for making a conservative tool watch a bit more “sporty” by having it mostly all monochromatic save for a small dash of color – usually red. That red shows up in the crown (a bit) as well as the red chronograph seconds hand. This type of timepiece is a poster-child for how a small dash of color can work so well. Having said that I think a white versus red chronograph seconds hand would have worked equally well.
At 46mm wide the Master Compressor Chronograph Ceramic is not a small watch. It does wear comfortably though and if you like bold sport watches you will certainly find a lot to love here. The case of course is ceramic – done in a matte black tone matched to metal pushers and crown. Because the crown and pushers match the hands and hour markers I don’t mind that they are in another color. I believe the crown and pushers are in titanium but Jaeger-LeCoultre wasn’t clear on that. In any event they are done in a similar matte-finish.
Inside the watch is the very useful in-house made Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 757 automatic chronograph movement. A real beauty of a complicated work-horse movement, the 757 combines a chronograph with second dial zone (complete with day/night) indicator, as well as the date. The movement operates at a modern frequency of 28,800 bph, and has a long power reserve of 65 hours (which was upped just a few years ago). In many ways the movement offers functionality similar to those in other timepieces but with Jaeger-LeCoultre there are added features such as the second timezone and day/night indicator (for the second time zone).
The dial of the Master Compressor Chronograph Ceramic is very familiar to Master Compressor collection fans. It has a slightly different treatment, but the collection’s signature hands and 12 o’clock hour marker are there and intact. It is both legible and masculine in a sort of refined Swiss manner. The case is further water resistant to 100 meters and the black strap is “Trieste” calfskin leather that has an almost textile look to it.